Custom and bespoke design motor controllers for stepper, brushless DC and DC motors
No more compromises…
Welcome to the world of custom / bespoke / tailored motor controllers. Motor controllers that deliver exactly what you need them to do at a price and setup that meets your requirements perfectly.
The world of custom motor controllers is not necessarily a world of highly complex electronics and highly technical challenges (although it sometimes can be) – it is exactly what the word custom suggests – a controller that is customised to the exact requirements of your project or application. It might be that size, weight or communication protocol is critical to you. It might be that you need a controller that can fit in a tight or unusually shaped space, be mounted in an unusual position or work in a difficult environment. All of these issues would make a good reason for a custom design project.
What our customers think*
Designed, tested, manufactured and delivered from the UK
We’re proud to design and manufacture all of our controllers in the UK and the same goes for all bespoke projects that we carry out. All design work will be carried out in the UK and all designs are assembled and/or manufactured in the UK to ensure the best possible quality and the best possible lead times.
This process also enables us to directly control all aspects of the design and assembly process from initial concept to production and to deal with any quick changes that are required.
Full transparency as the project develops
We will keep in regular contact with you as the project develops and work hard to provide information on the project as it develops. This can include pictures or videos of proof of concept boards working or key test data as it happens.
As part of this commitment we have recently developed an online portal to enable you to directly track the project’s progress via our internal project management software. We won’t open the full project up to you as this can be incredibly detailed and very specific but the portal will enable you to keep track on the project’s development and monitor the key dates and expected deliverables. We understand that when you’re committing a significant amount of time and potential financial resources you want to be able to keep track of it 24/7 and with this method you are able to do just that.
We’ll work with you right from the off…
Any bespoke or custom design motor controller project starts with the initial idea or requirement. Shaping this and developing it into a technical and commercial specification that delivers what you need is an inherent part of the process. That’s why we’re happy to work with you on developing this stage of the plan right at the outset.
If you have an idea that you’re looking to develop we will work with you on the specification, provide advice and the benefit of our design experience where relevant and discuss all available options with you before embarking on any design work. We can often provide samples or use a stock range to experiment with ideas at the start which can be a good way of shaping or informing the specification.
About us and our approach
Our main areas of expertise are in low power (<2KW) stepper and brushless DC (BLDC) motor control. Virtually all of our controllers are microcontroller based so we have enormous flexibility in programming options. We have designed a large range of controllers in these areas which include a range of communications interfaces, power requirements, advanced features and custom programmability.
We work closely with a range of OEMs in different industries and understand the requirements of these applications. Our experience working in these industries, as well as our range of contacts and previous design work help us get design work done to rigorous schedules.
“As Head of Design for Zikodrive, I take a personal pride in the design work we carry out. I enjoy working with clients to understand their needs and requirements and to help them achieve the success they want. I have personally worked in the motor control industry now for over 10 years, starting out as a sales engineer after leaving university and developing my career further until I co-founded Zikodrive several years ago. Our success has been built on a combination of personalised customer service, an emphasis on quality and an empathetic approach to our customer’s needs.
Our team always goes the extra mile and we take a huge pride in seeing projects succeed to the point that our customers are selling hundreds or thousands of products which we (in our own small way) helped to make possible.
Graham Fick – Head of Design and Co-Founder of Zikodrive Motor Controllers
Our work starts when you first contact us. We don’t take your rough specification and run with it without first discussing the application and your expectations. If commercially sensitive we’re happy to sign an NDA. Once we understand this we will then sit down with you and go through our thoughts and ideas about potential issues we have come across in the past or ideas of features or future proofing we can add to the specification.
We care about our customers and the environment and we therefore ensure that we design controllers that will last as long as you need them to. Part of this involves ensuring accurate specifications but part is also based on an understanding of the application – whether it be duty cycle, immediate environment, operational conditions etc. Once we know all of this we can then deliver the right controller for your application, a controller that will last.
The starting point of any new design project is the specification. However, in the early stages there is often considerable room for discussion. Our aim here is to exceed your expectations – whether it be by delivering the cost at a lower cost than you were anticipating or by adding an additional feature that you weren’t aware was possible.
We try to give you the benefit of our experience without hijacking your own ideas. We can discuss this over the phone, via email, on Skype or in person until everyone is happy and the project can then commence.
Rigorous project and quality management ensure a clear route to success
We understand that delivering successful design projects in this area is not just about electronic design ability and engineering expertise. It’s also about ensuring a clear specification, practical and well structured project schedule and implementing a rigorous quality management process throughout the project lifecycle.
Our seven stage project and quality management plan is outlined in a little more detail and, as we mentioned above, we will keep you up to date on the project as it develops.
How does it work and how long will it take?
Stage 1 – Getting the Specification Right
We’ll work with you to understand what you need, how you need it to work and what standards or other factors need to be taken into account with the design. We’ll develop an exhaustive specification based on our standard templates and will use this process to prompt any potentially important or useful additions.
Stage 2 – Project Costings and Indicative Volume Pricing
Once everyone is happy with the specification we will then work on this to develop a costed proposal and also work up some indicative pricing on what the controller is likely to cost at the required volumes. If this pricing is an issue then we can always review and look at potential changes to reduce this.
Stage 3 – the Proof of Concept design.
The proof of concept design will be a quick ‘rough and ready’ board that can be used to test out all key features to ensure they work.
Stage 3 is the first stage where we require financial commitment to get the project moving. Prior to this we understand that it’s important for you to get an idea of where the costs are likely to be.
Stage 4 – the Proof of Concept Assembled
We will then assemble the proof of concept board to enable us to test this out and ensure that it meets your requirements. We will normally send this across to you for you to test yourself or alternatively we can plan a site visit to run through this with you.
Stage 5 – The Production Design
Once the proof of concept design has been approved we will then move onto the production design. This will be the final version of the design so this will be designed to any of the physical specifications that were included at the start of the process (the proof of concept may not meet all of these factors if they were particularly stringent but this will be discussed at the time of going ahead).
Stage 6 – The Production Controllers
At this stage we will assemble the production controllers, assuming that they have met the QM check required to do so. These will the be tested in a more rigorous way than the proof of concept ones and will be delivered to your site for comprehensive testing. It is common at this stage to run through a few variations of firmware which can be used to optimise performance.
Stage 7 – The Design is now Completed
The Production Controller and associated firmware are all formally approved by all parties.
Following this stage the project is now formally signed off and all parties are happy with the project. Following this, the boards can then be ordered as required.
A proven track record of success - selected case studies of custom designed motor controllers
A major advantage of working with Zikodrive over other custom design electronics companies is that we have an extensive database of existing designs to work from. This example shows how quick changes can be made to deliver the performance you need at low cost.
A small, low powered sinusoidal brushless DC controller designed to an exacting physical and technical specification.
A simple brushless DC controller running at 48V and offering up to 10A.
This controller was based around a high current sensorless brushless DC (BLDC) motor controller with a range of additional safety features, data logging and solenoid control.
Explore the development of the iD Driver – an intelligent stepper motor controller for Boxer Pumps.
A brushed DC actuator driver which was developed for an automotive application including current sensing, four quadrant (4Q) design and more.
Not every customer needs 15A of optimised sensorless brushless DC motor control. In this instance, the customer wanted more.
The development of a brushed DC motor controller for high end turntables was a fascinating project.
Carrying out dentistry in remote areas requires efficiency. However, many battery powered models were underpowered.
A sensorless brushless DC motor controller specifically optimised for a range of different pumps.
Why choose Zikodrive for your bespoke designed motor controller?
Our experienced team has over 17 years experience in the motion control industry. We’ve developed large numbers of controllers for a wide range of customers. We know what it takes to design controllers that the performance you need at a price you want.
Our controllers are used all around the world in a range of performance critical applications. We know what it takes to deliver the controller you need.
All our controllers are designed in the UK using the latest technology and design software. They are then manufactured in the UK under the AS9100 mission critical quality management system.
If your project requires compliance with specific regulations (for example EMC regulations) then we can incorporate the testing and certification of this into the development cost. We can also implement carefully staged project proposals in order to ensure compliance and optimum performance before committing to the final production version.
Our team have won several awards including individual recognition for engineering excellence at the Motion Control Industry Awards and British Engineering Excellence Awards as well as awards for business management and entrepreneurship.
We believe that these awards reflect our strong track record of success and the huge amounts of work that we put into delivering high quality motor control electronics for our customers.
We work hard to deliver the best possible lead times both in development but also in production. In short, we’re confident that no one will be able to deliver your motor control project faster than Zikodrive can.
Our ‘back catalogue’ of motor control designs means that we can frequently get your design turned around in record time.
We won’t just design your controller, we’ll take it into production too. We’ll offer you a range of volume pricing options on the design you need (including annual call off orders) to ensure you get the quality controller you need and ongoing customer service if you have any issues or require any modifications.
We will manage the production of the controller in order to ensure that the products meet you in perfect condition – pre-programmed as per the agreed specification.
Interested? Get in touch with us to start the ball rolling on your custom motor controller design Project
*Scores taken from a customer satisfaction survey carried out by Zikodrive in September 2018.